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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Major

What is the equivalent to dog food? Cereal :(

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

I have made a lot of changes in our home to make it cleaner and healthier...especially when it comes to food.

But what about the dog's food? Considering how unregulated our food can only imagine how unregulated animal food is!

My doggos look forward to 2 things...napping and eating, so I might at well make the eating as enjoyable and as healthy as possible, lol!

I've known that dog food wasn't the greatest since we got our first dog over 5 years ago. I simply went online and googled some information about different dog food brands to find the best ones, but I was confused with what I found. Literally all the brands had tons of recalls. Even brands that I knew were expensive and supposed to be better quality. I decided to go to a local store and bought one that I thought was as good as I could get, but I didn't really know how good or bad it was...I just knew I couldn't find any recalls on it.

Fast forward and my once puppy dog is about 6 (I'm crying) and we now have another doggo/fox (see the pic below and you'll see) and I decided to look for a new holistic vet. I found the jackpot and thank goodness because they stopped taking new patients shortly afterwards! SHE WAS AMAZING AND I LEARNED SO MUCH. I spent over an hour at that appointment, and most of it was literally her just educating me. It wasn't a 15 minute appointment with them just telling me what my dog needs with no education behind it. I could go on and on, but I'll try to stick to dog food for now :)

Here's a little summary of what I learned...

Most dog food is made by the process of extrusion. What is this process? Here's what my vet said, "It's one of the least inexpensive ways of turning inedible foodstuffs into pet food. They use high heat and pressure to incinerate bones, gristle, claws, diseased flesh, etc. and mold it into shapes. There is very little nutrition after this process, as the nutritional value is literally cooked right out...hence the need for more synthetic additives." Often times if food isn't 'human-grade' which means unfit for human consumption, then they put it in dog food - GROSS.

Here's Purina, sharing how they use extrusion.

Like I mentioned earlier...there's not much regulation on human food, so it's going to be even worse for pet food. A couple vets I have learned from compare most dog food to cereal. Can you imagine trying to get all your nutrients from cereal for every meal of every day? Yikes! Their poor bodies.

So how to stay away from extrusion? Look for baked kibble instead (or don't do kibble). As I've been learning more and more, I have learned that there are levels of dog food. A good goal is to try and improve by going to the next level or try incorporating part of a better level. A lot of us can't spend a bunch more money nor do we want to get overwhelmed with a lot of changes, but don't just assume it's going to be more money...take the time to learn about your options, and take advantage of any deals you can get. I often start and cancel subscriptions to get an extra 10% off - oops lol. And don't stress about making big changes RIGHT NOW, I used up my old dog food, and even bought it one more time because I still wanted to look into better brands and costs a little longer. We're not in a rush and it's okay to take your time :)

Here's the levels of dog food that I've learned about - I was feeding ultra-processed and my goal has been switching to processed for now - small improvements so that I don't get overwhelmed.

Ultra-processed dog food (most dog kibble made through extrusion)

Processed dog food (baked kibble - still processed, but less heat adulteration steps)

Raw food (fresh, raw foods)

Once you smell dog food that is baked compared to typical dog food that follows the extrusion process, you'll never want to go back.

My vet recommended a couple brands, and I went with Honest Kitchen. The carb level is closer to 45% which is an improvement and I wish it was less (dogs really don't need much carbs) but if you feed them kibble, the carb level is always going to be higher. She has researched and tested so many brands with her dogs and this was actually her favorite too. I will probably try other brands too - I recently listened to a podcast (linked below) and she shared more good options that I want to check out. By the way...that podcast is amazing and you should definitely listen to it on your next drive.

Currently, I feed my dogs some of Honest Kitchen's dehydrated food and/or the dry cluster kibbles (I change it up based on sales and based on how picky my older dog is being). I want to eventually have part kibbles and part whole foods (raw foods) but I'm here for small changes over time. If I start doing more raw/whole foods, I'll do a whole other blog post on that. You can get 20% off your first Honest Kitchen order here!

My pitbull dog drools SO much while I'm getting his food ready. He used to get excited with his old food, but this is a whole new level now!

Happy dogs, happy life!

Here's a couple resources if you want to learn more:

+ Search around for a holistic vet in your area - they will be more knowledgeable around preventative health/root causes/nutrition/etc. instead of focusing on treating a symptom that may come back anyways

+ The Forever Dog (this book was really research heavy and took me a while to get through, but it was packed full of so much good info....after getting halfway through it, I took a break and read a fun book as a reward lol) Book Here - or get it from the library for free :) This would be a good book to have as an audio book for when you're getting ready, doing chores, etc.

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